The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the explosion at the Pike River mine in New Zealand that killed 29 miners in November last year has been told there was no first aid kit, telephone, extra self-rescuers or air valves at the fresh air bases where the miners should have been able to take refuge.

A telephone distress call – made elsewhere in the mine by a survivor to an emergency number – allegedly went to answer phone.

Russell Smith, a loader driver in the mine told New Zealand media “it was a Mickey Mouse operation”.